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Nicholas Wilder Gallery records, 1944-1984, bulk bulk 1968-1979

Nicholas Wilder Gallery

Collection Information

Size: 2.4 Linear feet

Summary: The records of the Nicholas Wilder Gallery of Los Angeles measure 2.4 linear feet and date from 1944 through 1984, with the bulk of materials dating from 1968 to 1979. Scattered documentation of the contemporary art gallery's fourteen years of operation include artists' inventory cards (the bulk of the collection), photographic transparencies, letters and correspondence, invitations, notes, business and financial documents, and printed materials.
The majority of records date from the period after the gallery moved to La Cienega Boulevard to Santa Monica Boulevard in Los Angeles, California. Very few records pertaining to specific exhibitions or openings are included in this collection. However, there is one exhibition catalog and scattered gallery invitations which were used as scrap paper. Other materials include business records that contain financial materials and notes. Printed Materials contain popular newspapers and magazines that reflect Wilder's interests, invitations to other galleries, auction catalogs, and business cards. Correspondence includes scattered gallery correspondence, Wilder's personal correspondence and documents, and holiday cards.
The bulk of the collection consists of artist files which include inventory cards and transparencies of works of art. Information on the inventory cards and transparencies may specify: date of creation, date of accession, potential collectors, purchase records, and titles. Notable artists include: Joe Goode, Tom Holland, Robert Graham, Billy Al Bengston, Cy Twombly, Ken Price, Ed Moses, Ron Davis, John McCracken, Kenneth Noland, Helen Frankenthaler, Jules Olitski, Agnes Martin, Edward Avedisian, John Altoon, Richard Yokomi, Sam Francis, Bruce Nauman, Hans Hofmann, and David Hockney. The majority of inventory cards reflect business at the gallery in the mid-late 1970s.
Financial records originating from the James Corcoran Gallery are included in this collection. The relationship between the two establishments is unclear although it seems that the James Corcoran Gallery moved into the space previously occupied by the Nicholas Wilder Gallery.

Biographical/Historical Note

In April 1965, Nicholas Wilder (1937-1989) founded his contemporary art gallery at 814 North La Cienega Boulevard in Los Angeles, California. His interest in art started at Amherst College where he worked for the art department as a slide technician. While in graduate school at Stanford University, he worked at the Lanyon Gallery in Palo Alto, California. An initial offer of financial backing to open a gallery inspired a move to Los Angeles. Although that offer fell through, Wilder remained determined. In late 1964, Wilder sold shares of his future gallery to friends in order to secure funds. He bought the shares back shortly after opening.


The Nicholas Wilder Gallery records were donated to the Archives of American Art in 1998 by Matthew Curtis Klebaum, a friend of Wilder's and a former employee of the James Corcoran Gallery.

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Funding for the processing of this collection was provided by the Getty Foundation